You could have done so many things other than just raise kids. I remember seeing your many talents you used to teach, entertain, and disciple us. You could have put any of your skills and interests ahead of us and left us to raise ourselves, but you first helped us flourish. I did not see how tough that was then, but I do now.
The highlight of each day was watching for Dad to come home. You loved him and we just found it normal to do the same. Thank you for staying together. If you had to work through things in your marriage, thank you for doing it where we did not see. We never felt like our home could split up; it was never discussed. That only happened to other people.
Thanks for making life so safe. It was a big colorful adventure. We did not live in fear of the future or hide in the shadows of the unknown. You spared us from the gagging oppression of peer pressure. You gave us freedom to take risks, let us know God was bigger than circumstances, and propelled us to do more than survive.
I remember having Pentecost at home. From the night you prayed with me until I spoke in tongues in my bed, to the prayer meetings we would have at the couch in the living room, to the Bible studies you and Dad would have with new people downstairs. We grew up on missionary stories and thought we had the best this world could offer when a preacher came to our house for dinner.
Thank you for raising us to love church. We never saw it as something we had to do. It was the highlight of the week. Watching sinful people change into the likeness of Christ was as exciting as when we watched that butterfly unfold from its chrysalis. You involved us in ministry and introduced us to the greatest people on earth. When God opened doors for you to share your gifts with the world, you took us along and we felt necessary.
If I could do my childhood over, I would pick you more flowers, color you more pictures, and bring home more stray puppies. I would still ride my bike like a wild horse and race a hundred toy cars across the front porch. However, I think I would make you take more time to pursue your calling.
Or maybe you did.
This piece originally appeared in Pentecostal Herald, May 2012.